Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Can Violence Harm Cooperation? Experimental Evidence

De Luca, Giacomo and Sekeris, Petros and Spengler, Dominic (2015): Can Violence Harm Cooperation? Experimental Evidence.

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Abstract

While folk theorems for dynamic renewable common pool resource games sustain cooperation as an equilibrium, the possibility of reverting to violence to appropriate the resource destroys the incentives to cooperate, because of the expectation of conflict when resources are sufficiently depleted. In this paper, we provide experimental evidence that individuals behave according to the theoretical predictions. For high stocks of resources, when conflict is a highly costly activity, participants cooperate less than in the control group, and they play the non-cooperative action with higher frequency. This comes as a consequence of the (correct) anticipation that, when resources run low, the conflict option is used by a large share of participants.

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